After six seasons with the Tennessee Titans, Chris Johnson is expected to be freed from Music City this offseason. Both sides are ready for a fresh start, and the Oakland Raiders could soon benefit from the upcoming split.
The Raiders will also walk away from their starting running back this offseason. Darren McFadden is set to be a free agent, and won’t receive any offers from the Silver and Black after six injury-filled seasons in Oakland. If the Raiders fail to re-sign Rashad Jennings as well, they could be forced to look towards the open market for the new starter.
That’s where Johnson comes in.
While it’s fairly obvious why the Raiders would be interested in Johnson, the tidbit that might not be as apparent is the durability factor. Since entering the NFL back in 2008, Johnson hasn’t missed a single game. Meanwhile, McFadden has missed 27 games so far due to injury, playing in only 69 of 96 possible contests.
Even when Johnson suffered a knee injury in Week 3 of the 2013 season, he battled through and played the remaining 13 games. That type of durability and determination is something the Raiders have sorely missed over the last six years.
If the Raiders were to sign Johnson, he’d immediately plug in as their starting running back. With a 2,000-yard season and zero seasons with less than 1,000 yards under his belt, he’s still a premier NFL back who clearly needs a change of scenery. While Oakland might not be a dream destination, it would be an opportunity for Johnson to be the star of the show.
The Raiders could also choose to go with Latavius Murray as their starter, but might not be willing to put the entire workload on the shoulders of a player who hasn’t played a single NFL snap. The 2013 sixth-rounder spent his entire rookie campaign on Injured Reserve due to an ankle injury, but is expected to make a serious push for snaps this upcoming season.
If GM Reggie McKenzie can get him for the right price, Johnson could be a great fit for the Raiders. We’ll see what happens when free agency kicks off on March 11.